30 Nov 2011

Resources for Advent

Advent is the great season of waiting and preparing for the coming of the Lord as we discussed on the programme last weekend. It is a time when we are called to make space and time and welcome Jesus into our lives with Advent being the Churches effort to help us with making that time and space to wait.

To help you along with your Advent preparations we suggest the following links for resources for Advent. There are hundreds of online resources with some leading you onto more and more, all across the various Christian denominations. We will also be posting reflections over the Advent season drawn from scripture, poetry, art and musical interludes so make sure you check back with us.

The Advent Conspiracy

This is Discipling

26 Nov 2011

27th November 2011 - First Sunday of Advent (Year B)

On this weeks show we begin the Season of Advent with a short reflection on the meaning of the season, the traditions and customs associated with the beginning of the new liturgical year as well as a reflection on the gospel of the Sunday and a quick visit to the saints of the week.

This weeks podcast can be heard HERE.

Season of Advent

At the start of the new liturgical year we are switching cycles and moving to the gospel of Mark for the next few months. It is also the start of the season of Advent which is sometimes seen as a "weird little season" which is an appendage to Christmas. However, Advent is a season in its own right which we need to rediscover and explore.

[From Wikipedia] Advent comes from the latin adventus which in turn is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ's return.

Advent is a great season of waiting which calls us to live in the moment not rushing ahead to Christmas. Waiting is a creative moment, a threshold moment where we can create time to reflect on our relationship with God;such a waiting reminds us of our dependency on God.
Advent is also a very feminine season - one of quiet waiting associated very like that of an expectant mother which of course is very apt as it is a Marian season as we wait in joyful anticipation with the pregnant Mary. In contrast to Lent which is associated with starkness, aridity and dryness, Advent is a fruitful season, pregnant with potential for growth and life both in terms of the natural world when we have the turning of darkness to light on December 21st and in faith as we have the opportunity to invite Christ into our hearts and lives with his arrival at Christmas.

When are the times when we had to wait in our lives? What are the moments when we had to put aside waiting and to rest in the moment with the God who describes himself as I AM WHO I AM.

Advent is preparation for the great season of Christmas. The readings put before us the story of the Jewish waiting for the Messiah. Are we prepared to let Jesus into our lives and hearts now? Are we open to letting him become alive in our lives? Are we willing to answer the call of John the Baptist to return to the Lord in this season; a call to become child like with wonder but not childish in our behaviour and actions.

It is also a season of Hope. At a time when we are almost on our knees which can be depressing and lonely, the call of the season is to wait in hope! The Jews waited for thousands of years for their Messiah which should give us an example to follow. We are reminded that on the shortest day of the year, we turn to the light reminding us that Jesus is "Light from Light".

Traditions of Advent

Advent wreath - It is usually a horizontal evergreen wreath with four candles and often, a fifth, white candle in the center. Beginning with the First Sunday of Advent, the lighting of a candle can be accompanied by a Bible reading and prayers. An additional candle is lit during each subsequent week until, by the last Sunday before Christmas, all four candles are lit. Some Advent wreaths include a fifth, "Christ" candle which can be lit at Christmas. The custom is observed both in family settings and at public church services. The Advent Wreath represents the long time when people lived in spiritual darkness, waiting for the coming of the Messiah, the Light of the world. Each year in Advent people wait once again in darkness for the coming of the Lord, His historical coming in the mystery of Bethlehem, His final coming at the end of time, and His special coming in every moment of grace.

Colour purple - sign of a penitential season but not as severe as Lent, no Gloria's but we still sing the Alleluia.

Jesse Tree - The Jesse Tree represents the family tree, or genealogy of Jesus Christ. It tells the story of God's salvation plan, beginning with creation and continuing through the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah. The name comes from Isaiah 11:1, "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit." Each day of Advent a homemade ornament is added to the Jesse Tree, a small tree made of evergreen branches. These symbolic ornaments can each represent a prophecy foretelling of Christ. Other variations include creating ornaments that represent the ancestors in the lineage of Christ, or using the various monogram symbols of Christianity as handmade ornaments.

Patrick Kavanagh
We have tested and tasted too much, lover-
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder.
But here in the Advent-darkened room
Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea
Of penance will charm back the luxury
Of a child's soul, we'll return to Doom
The knowledge we stole but could not use.

And the newness that was in every stale thing
When we looked at it as children: the spirit-shocking
Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill
Or the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking
Of an old fool will awake for us and bring
You and me to the yard gate to watch the whins
And the bog-holes, cart-tracks, old stables where Time begins.

O after Christmas we'll have no need to go searching
For the difference that sets an old phrase burning-
We'll hear it in the whispered argument of a churning
Or in the streets where the village boys are lurching.
And we'll hear it among decent men too
Who barrow dung in gardens under trees,
Wherever life pours ordinary plenty.
Won't we be rich, my love and I, and
God we shall not ask for reason's payment,
The why of heart-breaking strangeness in dreeping hedges
Nor analyse God's breath in common statement.
We have thrown into the dust-bin the clay-minted wages
Of pleasure, knowledge and the conscious hour-
And Christ comes with a January flower.


Gospel - Mark 13: 3-37
As we start the new liturgical year, we move to the gospel of Mark. Mark's gospel is a short gospel at only 16 chapters and is generally viewed as the earliest of the synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke) with a traditional date of 70 A.D. being assigned to its composition by the scholars. Tradition tells us that Mark's gospel is the testimony of St Peter.

The gospels of Advent focus on a reminder of the second coming of Jesus and then focusing on two great Advent figures, John the Baptist and Mary.

This weeks gospel is quiet short, as most of the gospel passages from Mark are through out the lectionary as it is a short gospel. As such it means we have to focus in greater depth on the words of the passage that is presented to us which gives us greater opportunity to reflect.

"Stay Awake" - this exhortation is one of the main ones that comes out of this weeks gospel. It is used four times in the short piece we read and it a is a command stressed again and again. It ties in very much with the season of Advent and the call to be awake as well as echoing the last couple of gospels of the old liturgical year with the call to be alert and prepared for the return of the Master. We are reminded of times of fearful waiting like waiting for medical results, people suffering with Alzheimer's disease, and we think and pray for people in that situation. We also appreciate the joyful waiting like expectant parents, or parents waiting for children to come home for Christmas etc.

"Time" - In a world obsessed with time and labour saving devices to save time, yet we never have enough time. Time to visit, to pray, to sleep, to participate in the miracle of nature. No time for a balance in our lives. We need to make time and spaces in our lives, to make a place for God by turning the radio and tv off, put the phone on silence to listen to your heart beat and allow God to speak to us this Advent.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:
Saints of the Week

November 28th - St Brendan of Birr
November 29th - Tuesday, first week of Advent
November 30th - Feast of St Andrew (Apostle)
December 1st - Thursday, first week of Advent
December 2nd - Friday, first week of Advent (First Friday)
December 3rd - St Francis Xavier SJ

Pope Benedict XVI's intentions for the month of December
General Intention - Peace among all peoples - "That all peoples may grow in harmony and peace through mutual understanding and respect".

Mission Intention - Children and youth - "That children and young people may be messengers of the Gospel  and that they may be respected and and preserved from all violence and exploitation".

23 Nov 2011

Sacraments 101: Penance (from Busted Halo)

November 23rd - Feast of St Columbanus

Blessed feast of St. Columbanus to you all!

Prayer of St Columbanus

"I am a lowly creature but I am still God's servant, and I hope that he will choose to wake me from slumber. I hope that he will set me on fire with the flame of his divine love, the flame that burns above the stars, so that I am filled with desire for his love and his fire burns always within me!"

From Wikipedia:

Saint Columbanus (540 – 23 November 615; Irish: Columbán, meaning "the white dove") was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monasteries on the European continent from around 590 in the Frankish and Lombard kingdoms, most notably Luxeuil (in present-day France) and Bobbio (Italy), and stands as an exemplar of Irish missionary activity in early medieval Europe.

He spread among the Franks a Celtic monastic rule and Celtic penitential practices for those repenting of sins, which emphasized private confession to a priest, followed by penances levied by the priest in reparation for the sin. He is also one of the earliest identifiable Hiberno-Latin writers.

A description of him:

"By nature Columbanus was eager, passionate, and dauntless; these qualities were both the source of his power and the cause of his mistakes. The fascination of this complicated saintly personality drew numerous communities around him. Bobbio in Italy became a citadel of faith and learning, while Luxeuil in France became the nursery of saints and apostles. From the walls of Luxeuil went forth men who carried his rule, together with the Gospel, into France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy."

If you want to read more about this great Irish missionary go here and here.

19 Nov 2011

20th November 2011 - Solemnity of Christ the Universal King (and Reflection on the Sacrament of Reconciliation)

On this weeks show we begin a new series on the Sacraments which we are going to be doing over the next few months beginning with Reconciliation which Lorraine gives us a few thoughts and reflections on. We also go through this weeks gospel which is the last reading from Matthew in this liturgical year as well as our celestial guides and some local notices for the week.

A reminder to all our listeners and readers that next week is the first Sunday of Advent, Year B in the lectionary cycle so we will be using the gospel of Mark for Sunday readings for the next twelve months.

Of course for English speaking Catholics, next Sunday sees the full introduction of the revised translation of the Roman Missal, the third since the second Vatican Council authorised that the liturgy could be in the vernacular. For those of you that may have missed our show on the revised translation, check out our Revised Translation Page where we have resources and links for you to read and listen to.

This weeks podcast is available HERE.

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Source: Return of the Prodigal Son - Rembrandt
This week we begin a new series on the programme looking at the Sacraments as understood by the church, sources and moments of grace in our lives.

Lorraine begins the series by reflecting on the Sacrament of Reconciliation (a.k.a. Confession and Penance). The following are some notes and thoughts for reflection on the sacrament but we would encourage you to listen to the podcast.

We would encourage people to go back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation especially as part of your Advent preparation for Christmas. It doesn't matter how long it has been or even if you forget how it is done. When you go in, tell the priest it has been a while and say you might need some guidance on how to do things. No one is going to pass judgement but rather it will be a case of "Welcome home again".

If it has been a while, you might these links to the examination of conscience may be helpful in your preparation for receiving the sacrament (we will be adding more over the next couple of days if you don't find any that appeal to you check back):

What is the Sacrament called?

The Sacrament of...
  • Conversion: it “makes sacramentally present Jesus' call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father” (CCC 1423; cf. Mk 1:15; Lk 15:18)
  • Penance: it “consecrates the Christian sinner's personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction” (CCC 1423)
  • Confession: we confess our sins to the priest and in doing so we are ‘confessing’ (acknowledging and praising) our trust in God’s mercy and holiness (cf. CCC 1424)
  • Forgiveness: “since by the priest's sacramental absolution God grants the penitent ‘pardon and peace’" (CCC 1424; formula of absolution)
  • Reconciliation: it reconciles the sinner with God because it imparts the merciful love of God to the sinner (cf. CCC 1424). “He who lives by God's merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord's call: ‘Go; first be reconciled to your brother.’ (Mt 5:24)” (CCC 1424)
Why do we need the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
The Church is “at once holy and in need of purification” (LG 8 § 3). Christ calls everyone to conversion (cf. Mk 1:15). Our first or initial conversion takes place through the Sacrament of Baptism, but often we sin and turn away from God. This is why we need constant conversion through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The sacrament of reconciliation is for all those who have fallen into grave sin after baptism. When someone commits a mortal sin, it means they lose baptismal grace and their communion with the Church is wounded (cf. CCC 1446)

Why do we confess our sins to a priest?
Sin is primarily an “offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church” (CCC 1440).
“Only God forgives sins” (CCC 1441; Cf. Mk 2:7) – then why do we confess our sins to a priest?
We confess our sins to a priest because he stands in persona Christi, in the Person of Christ. In other words, you are not confessing your sins to a mere man, but to Christ Himself.
The Priest is a servant of God’s forgiveness (cf. CCC 1466) and “is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds, of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return, and of the just and impartial judge whose judgment is both just and merciful. The priest is the sign and the instrument of God's merciful love for the sinner” (CCC 1465).

Gospel - Matthew 25: 31-46

Hail Redeemer, King Divine,
Priest and Lamb the throne is thine,
King whose reign shall never cease,
Prince of ever lasting peace
Angels Saints and Nations sing
Praise be Jesus Christ our King
Lord of life, earth, sky and sea,
King of Love on Calvary.

This weeks feast celebrates the Kingship of Christ, the feast was erected at the end of the 1925 Holy Year by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas where he sought to give due honour to the Divine Kingship of Christ.
Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP noted,"The Church's year ends with the Feast of Christ the King. Jesus is portrayed as a triumphant king reigning over all creation. This is the same Jesus, son of Mary and son of God, who has preached the Good News and declared the imminence of God's kingdom. The obedient Son suffered and died for us, rose from the dead, ascended into glory and sent his Spirit so that we may have another comforter and someone to speak for us. Creation has been restored, and we have been saved from our sins and foolishness. The cycle is now complete. Although the enormousness of God's saving work has yet to impress itself on most people, nevertheless we believe that there will be a moment at the end of time when the Son will come again in all his glory, and creation will reach fulfillment. That is why we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, we rejoice in what Jesus has done for us, yet at the same time we look forward to its completion........".

 But for many people, the idea of Kingship of Jesus is somewhat alien. Jesus was of the royal house of David born in the royal city but he was born in a stable and laid in a manager. He was a King who entered into the Holy City - Jerusalem - through the royal gate to the acclamations of the people not in a military procession or from the back of a state coach but on the back of a humble donkey. He was enthroned not on some fancy cathedra but rather on a gibbet outside the city walls in the midst of the city dump, proclaimed mockingly as King as he died opening his arms on the cross to embrace the world and all of humanity.

He came as a Servant Leader as he explained to the disciples at the Last Supper when he washed their feet. We are all called to be servants to one another, assisting and helping in fraternal love and friendship. Where leaders lord it over us in civil or religious spheres truly then we have lost our allegiance to the true king.
He redefined what it means to be a leader amongst those that dare to call themselves his followers reminding us that the first will be last and the last first.
In our lives today, do we make the effort to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned? Be it those who are in physical need but what about those hungry for a consoling word of recognition of their humanity and dignity as people; those whose very souls and minds are ripped naked and torn from the insults and humiliation they experience, the sick of mind and spirit, those imprisoned in the expectations of society as well as those incarcerated by mental illness and stigma? Have we not only assisted them, have we gone past our comfort zone to really be present to those in need, really aware of them as the face of Christ for us in this world?

 Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

Saints of the Week
November 22nd - St Cecilia: patroness of music and musicians
November 23rd - St Columban (aka Columbanus)
November 24th - Ss Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions (Martyrs of Vietnam)
November 25th - St Catherine of Alexandria
                             - St Coleman patron of the diocese of Cloyne.
November 26th - Blessed Hugh Taylor

Pope Benedict XVI in Benin


If you were relying on the mainstream media to inform you of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the west African country of Benin you could be waiting a while. However if you would like to read some coverage and analysis John L Allen at NCR is in Benin covering the trip.

You might also like to read some of the addresses and homilies available at the Vatican website.

16 Nov 2011

November 21st 2011: Limerick Diocese launches new diocesan website & logo

This is gonna be great!
Don't forget to invite those in your parish and community who are making a difference in this diocese! All are welcome. All we ask is that everyone RSVPs by Friday (details on the invite above).

Further information available HERE.

Pro Orantibus Day - November 21st 2011

Reminder comes from the Domican Nuns of Summit New Jersey:

Pro Orantibus Day Recalls Cloistered Communities as the “Heart” of the Church
Catholics throughout the world are encouraged to honor the cloistered and monastic life on Pro Orantibus Day, which is Monday, Nov. 21, 2011.

“The primary purpose of Pro Orantibus Day (“For Those Who Pray”) is to thank God for the tremendous gift of the cloistered and monastic vocation in the Church’s life,” noted Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem., National Director of the Institute on Religious Life (USA). “Since the lives of these women and men religious dedicated to prayer and sacrifice is often hidden, this annual celebration reminds us of the need to support their unique mission within the Body of Christ,” he added.

In 1997 Bl. Pope John Paul II asked that this ecclesial event be observed worldwide on November 21, the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Presentation in the Temple. It is a special day to thank those in the cloistered and monastic life for serving as “a leaven of renewal and of the presence of the spirit of Christ in the world.” It is also intended to remind others of the need to provide spiritual and material support “for those who pray.”

Pope Benedict XVI has spoken often of the tremendous value of the cloistered, contemplative life. Speaking to a group of cloistered Dominican nuns in Rome, the Holy Father referred to such religious as “the heart” which provides blood to the rest of the Body of Christ. He noted that in their work and prayer, together with Christ, they are the “heart” of the Church and in their desire for God’s love they approach the ultimate goal.

What does the Catholic Church do for Africa?

With Pope Benedict XVI heading to Benin on Friday some facts and figures from Rome Reports to show what the Catholic Church does for Africa?

12 Nov 2011

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - VIDES Volunteers

On this weeks programme Sr Dympna joins us with two returned VIDES volunteers to tell us of their experience volunteering in South Africa and Zambia. We have our usual gospel reflection, some local notices and saints of the week.

This weeks
podcast is now available.

VIDES Volunteers

Sr Dympna Clancy FMA returns to Sacred Space 102fm with two VIDES volunteers to tell us of some of their work in the last year Mindra Kelly and Darragh Casey who joined us in studio. They tell us of how they heard about VIDES, the work they did before and during their time overseas in Africa and how it has affected them since they returned to Ireland.

Darragh and Mindra in studio
VIDES (Voluntary International Development Education and Service)is an international association supported by the Salesian Sisters which consists of groups of volunteers who give time abroad and who share their time and their gifts for limited periods working with the sisters in development projects abroad. It is for volunteers 20 years up wards who work with the Salesian Sisters around the world.

Vides Ireland continues to operate and invite volunteers to make contact if they are interested in giving time abroad. The Irish delegate is Sr. Dympna Clancy who can be contacted at dymclan@eircom.net or phone 061-348510. The training for next year begins on Saturday 26th November so if you would be interested in going next year with VIDES, please contact Sr Dympna as soon as possible.

Gospel - Matthew 25: 14-30

We are drawing to the end of the liturgical year and we are coming to the end of St Matthews gospel. The gospel this week is the 'Parable of the Talents' and how the servants use the "gift" of money that has been given to them by their master. For us of course we can see it as the free gifts that God has given to each of us. We are individuals with gifts given to us in different proportions which we are called to use and share those gifts. In that using and sharing, we will receive back many times that which we expend. How do we react and respond to the free gift that God has given us?

We need to also take God's way of acting seriously as God will demand an account from each of us for the gifts that have been entrusted to us to be developed and grown. He gives to each according to their ability freely without having direction. It poses a question to each of us as to how will we be able to respond to the Master when he returns and account for our stewardship of our gifts.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

Saints of the Week

November 14th - St Laurence O'Toole
November 15th - St Albert the Great OP, (Doctor)
November 16th - St Margaret of Scotland
November 17th - St Elizabeth of Hungary
November 18th - Dedication of the Basilica's of Ss Peter and Paul
November 19th - St Agnes of Assisi

7 Nov 2011

A pause in the day: Ave Maria - Schubert

6th November 2011 - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Reflection on the Revised Translation of the Mass with Noirin Lynch

On this weeks show we were joined by Noirin Lynch from Limerick Diocesan Pastoral Centre to speak with us about the new revised translation of the Mass and how it is being brought in and introduced in the diocese of Limerick.

We must apologise for the fact that last weeks programme didn't go out on the regular Sunday morning slot due to technical difficulties at the radio station. We understand that it affected all the prerecorded programmes that go out on a Sunday morning. For anyone that wishes to listen to it as it was a special programme for All Saints and All Souls it is available on our podcast page.

Podcast of this weeks programme is now available.

Revised Translation of the Mass

We discuss during the entire programme with Noirin various aspects of the changes and what is happening as we gather for liturgy. The following is only a synopsis and doesn't really do justice to Noirin's reflection and presentation so we would encourage you to listen to the full podcast.

What is happening and why?

In the first Sunday of Advent, 27th November the entire English speaking world will be starting to use a new revised translation of the missal used during Mass. In Ireland we have already began using the people's parts in some ways in parishes around the diocese.

It is not just something happening in the Irish church, it is all English speaking parts of the world including the Philippines, India, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, UK etc. It is a continuation of the process of praying in our own language which we started only a mere 40 years ago from the Latin originals following on from the second Vatican Council. It is all part of the learning process which is still ongoing as we come to grasp with the depths of scripture and the language used to express our faith and our prayer as a praying community. The revised translation that we are now starting to use has taken 10 years to prepare since 2000 which included consultations with all the bishops conference who have English language usage.

What has changed?

Since the middle of September parishes have been using the new text. There is no change to the structure and readings of the Mass (unlike what happened when we originally changed from the Latin) some people will find that the postures (standing, sitting, kneeling) have changed slightly as we come more in line with the way it is done around the rest of the world. But the main thing that has changed are the words we are using.

The People's parts have not changed dramatically, in some places where we had courses to introduce the new texts in May the response has been "Is that it?"

The biggest challenge will be in the priests parts which requires that we support our clergy to get used to using these new translations. There are huge changes in the language used which will require practise and preparation. We will need to allow our clergy to pray and prepare the new language being used, and we need to support them in their role to preside and lead at the liturgy.
And with your spirit - the most common response in the Mass as it is used four times. In every other major language it has been translated correctly as opposed to what we had been using in English. It is not an every day greeting but rather is a recognition of who we are and the place we are in liturgy. We are gathered in God's name to pray the Eucharist together. It is inspired by several of Paul's letters in the New Testament.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. - It is taken directly from scripture and the story of the Roman centurion who sought Jesus' healing for his servant. The response seeks to take us back to our roots right back into scripture and how it interacts in our liturgy and our lives.

We need to engage and start to relearn about Eucharist and our faith. In Ireland we tend to associate learning with children and school but there is no need for any more learning especially with scripture. But we are learning and relearning things in our lives every day for example the way what we eat to become physically fit. The revised translation provides us with an opportunity to engage and become more spiritually fit and go deeper in our prayer and encourage us to explore scripture.

The Creeds - the creeds are the summary of the beliefs about who Jesus is and what we actually believe. The Nicene creed has a couple of textual changes the most challenging is the term consubstantial. Consubstantial is the word created at the Council of Nicaea where the church fathers struggled to express a unique thing. a word which is used to describe the nature of Jesus Christ and is used to describe this only and nothing else. What it is trying to express is a term created at the council to describe that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine.

Noirin also discusses the changes to the Gloria which has been rendered more true to the hymn of the angels sung over the crib in Bethlehem. We also discuss the changes to the memorial acclamations.

Impact of Change from a practical point of view

We gather as a welcoming community when we come together to celebrate Eucharist. But it can't just consist of giving out the leaflets and leaving it at that. What about people who have sight problems, or maybe people who are illiterate and have managed to hide that from the community, people that only turn up for special events, people who don't come to church very often except for Christmas and Easter, how do we ensure that they are all included in our Eucharist and are not afraid of the changes and what it all means for us as community. It means we need to be aware of the changes and including people right up to Christmas and the New Year.

We are also reminded that singing ministry in the community need to work on their repertoire and be able to use the new texts.There will be a greater challenge to sing the Mass parts, we can survive without the hymns but we need to sing the parts of the Mass especially the Alleluia and the responsible the psalm. For those in music ministry there are many new resources available including "Sing the Mass" which has taken three Masses which we know very well and put the new text into these familiar music for us. 


The main resource page for people interested in reading and learning more about the revised translation is from our own Limerick Diocesan Website which has many links, resources, PowerPoint presentations and guides for you to read and reflect on.

Saints of the Week

November 7th - St Willibrod
November 8th - St Martin Tho
November 9th - Dedication of the the Basilica of St John in Lateran (Feast)
November 10th - Pope St Leo the Great
November 11th - St Martin of Tours
November 12th - St Josaphat

IEC Bell comes to Limerick Diocese from November 7th 2011

The build-up to the 2012 Eucharistic Congress for the Diocese of Limerick will begin in earnest on Monday evening next, November 7th, when the National Congress Bell arrives in the city.

The Bell, which has been brought on a pilgrimage since St. Patrick’s Day this year, from diocese to diocese, as part of the build-up to next year’s Eucharistic Congress, will finally cross into the Diocese of Limerick on Monday next from neighbouring diocese Cashel & Emly for a nine-day stay that finishes at Caherconlish Parish on Monday afternoon.

The Bell will be welcomed into the Diocese ahead of Mass in St. John’s at 7.30 p.m. by Diocesan Administrator Fr Tony Mullins and Ms Dolly O’Brien, from St. Patrick’s Parish in the City. Dolly, who attended the only other Eucharistic Congress held in Ireland, in 1932, will have the honour of ringing the Bell for the first time in the Diocese.

Why a Eucharistic Bell?

Speaking ahead of the Bell’s arrival, Fr Alphonsus Cullinan, Diocesan Delegate for the International Eucharistic Congress, which takes place next June in Dublin, said it is an ideal opportunity for the people of Limerick to begin preparations for and understanding of what the Eucharistic Congress means.

“The Bell is a key symbol for the Eucharistic Congress. It begins preparations and raises awareness for the Congress, which will be the biggest celebration of our faith on this island since Pope John Paul II visited here in 1979.

“The Congress will attract thousands from abroad and tens of thousands of Irish people so everyone in the Catholic Faith needs to understand the unique experience that’s ahead of us. The Eucharistic Congress Bell’s arrival here will help spread that message and understanding.

“As such the Bell’s stay here is an invitation to the Eucharistic Congress and we would urge as many people as possible to visit the Bell as it is taken around the diocese.”

Route around the Diocese

On Monday 7th November, the Bell will be welcomed into the Diocese ahead of Mass in St. John’s at 7.30 p.m. by Diocesan Administrator Fr Tony Mullins and Ms Dolly O’Brien, from St. Patrick’s Parish in the City. Dolly, who attended the only other Eucharistic Congress held in Ireland, in 1932, will have the honour of ringing the Bell for the first time in the Diocese.

Representatives of all parishes in the pastoral area will be involved in the liturgy - carrying the four icons & the bell itself, and leading us in prayer and scripture readings.

On the following morning, the Bell will travel north of the river to Christ the King parish Caherdavin, in time for 10am morning mass. It will spend Tuesday travelling around this Pastoral Area, including a visit to the Grotto in Cratloe, which was built to mark the Eucharistic Congress in Ireland in 1932.

The Bell will remain in the Diocese until it crosses over into the Kerry Diocese from Abbeyfeale Parish on Wednesday, November 16th.

Members of the Eucharistic Congress committee have prepared local resources for Pastoral Areas to consider (see 'preparation' section below for more details).

For further information and resources please see HERE.

Some web browsing............

A short round up for your attention while having a cuppa.........

Pat Gohn writes a reflection on Forty-one lovely words grounded in scripture and tradition: The Hail Mary is true Christian prayer. We rejoice with God in what he has done in and through Mary to give us Jesus.

If you ever felt like quiting, don't blame God!

Ever found it difficult to get up for work in the morning? Have you ever wondered about a theological approach to work?

Economic turmoil for people visible to Redemptoristines through volume of prayer requests.

An interesting article from the Irish Times looking at contemplative religious life behind the convent walls.

Irish public sharply divided over view of Church: poll

Pope Benedict XVI is travelling to Benin in the next few weeks. John Allen looks at how to avoid another "condom-gate" controversy as the Pope heads to Africa.

Leading AIDS researcher defends Pope Benedict, criticizes condoms

The USA hasn't started using the revised translation of the new missal as we have in Ireland yet, but Kathy Schiffer has an interesting take on all the analysis and reactions to it - Too many translation tensions: The new missal translations bring our prayers in line with those of Catholics the world over. We sing better with one voice.

An interesting analysis of the revised translation from a 16 year old Latin whiz kid!

Ireland closes embassy to Vatican (Rome Reports and Vatican Radio)

The Irish government has announced that it will close their embassy to the Vatican in order to save more money. They maintain diplomatic relations with the Holy See, however the announcement was made after a year of rocky relations between the Vatican and Ireland. The Vatican has recognized Ireland's decision, noting that the important thing was actually having relations, which in this case was not in question.

The announcement was made along with plans to close two other Irish embassies in the countries of Iran and East Timor. The Irish have said these closures would save their government 1.7 million dollars every year.

Dublin did make it a point to note that the decision was not based on disputes over child abuse committed by members of the Church.


Faith in Life Eternal gives us hope to improve the world - Pope Benedict XVI - All Souls

At his weekly general audience on 2nd November, addressing pilgrims from various different countries, Pope Benedict XVI focused his remarks on the Solemnity of All Souls and the reality of death.

"Despite the fact that death is a subject almost banned from our societies, and there are continuous attempts to remove even the thought of it from our minds, it actually concerns each one of us", Pope Benedict explained. "Faced with this mystery all of us, even unconsciously, seek something that allows us to hope, a sign that can bring consolation, a horizon open to a future".

We are afraid of death because "we are afraid of the void, of departing towards something we do not know". At the same time, "we cannot accept that all the great and beautiful achievements of a lifetime can suddenly be wiped out, that they can fall into the abyss of emptiness. Above all we feel that love calls out for eternity, and we cannot accept that it is destroyed by death in a single moment. ... When we find ourselves towards the end of life, we have a perception that there is judgment of our actions, of how we conducted our life, especially in those dark movements which, with great ability, we often remove or seek to remove from our conscience".

In today's world, the Holy Father went on, "there is a widespread tendency to think that everything must be approached with the criteria of experimental science, and that even the great question of death must be answered, not with faith, but on the basis of empirical data. We are not sufficiently aware, however, that precisely by doing so we have ended up falling into a form of spiritism, in the attempt to have some contact with the world beyond death".

However, for Christians the Solemnities of All Saints and All Souls "tell us that only those capable of recognising great hope in death are also able to live lives founded on hope. ... Man needs eternity; for him any other hope is too brief, too limited. Man is explainable only if there is a Love which overcomes all isolation, even the isolation of death, in a totality which transcends time and space. Man is explainable, he finds his most profound meaning, only if God exists. And we know that God ceased to be distant, that He came close to us".

"God truly showed Himself, He became accessible, He so loved the world 'that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life'. And by the supreme act of love upon the Cross, by emerging Himself in the abyss of death, He conquered death, He rose again and opened the doors of eternity for us too. Christ supports us through the night of death, which He Himself experienced. He is the Good Shepherd, to Whose guidance we can entrust ourselves without fear, because He knows the way, even through the darkness".

"It is precisely faith in eternal life which gives Christians the courage to love this earth of ours even more intensely, and to work to build an earthly future of true and secure hope", the Holy Father concluded.

Reflections on All Saints - Pope Benedict XVI

"The Solemnity of All Saints is a good occasion to raise our eyes from temporal matters, which are marked by time, to the dimension of God, the dimension of eternity and sanctity", said the Pope before praying the Angelus on November 1st with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"Today's liturgy reminds us that sanctity is the primary vocation of all the baptised. In fact Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit is alone holy, loved the Church as His bride and gave Himself for her so as to sanctify her. For this reason, all members of the People of God are called to become saints. ... We are, then, invited to look to the Church not only in her temporal and human guise, which is tainted by fragility, but as Christ wished her to be: a 'communion of saints'. ... Today we venerate this innumerable community of All Saints who, by their different lives, show us the different ways to sanctity, sharing the single common denominator of following Christ and conforming themselves to Him, which is the final goal of our human existence".
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6 Nov 2011

November 2nd - All Soul's (Commomeration of All the Faithful Departed)

"The souls of the just are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace.

For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever.

Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect."

-- From the Book of Wisdom, (a reading for Mass on All Soul's Day).

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed. Through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

In paradisum (English: "Into paradise") is an antiphon from the traditional Latin liturgy of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass. It is sung by the choir as the body is being taken out of the church:

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.
May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, the poor man, may you have eternal rest.

Mozarts Requiem Mass in D Minor

Some other reflections for All Saints here, here and here.